EAU CLAIRE—May 31, 2012—The Wisconsin Woodchucks capitalized on numerous Eau Claire Express mistakes as they took the 2012 season opener by a score of 6-4.
The Woodchucks wasted no time as they scored the first runs of the 2012 Northwoods League season. With the bases loaded and one out, pitcher Rich McCaffrey lined a single to right that scored Mike Mierow and Andrew Montanari, giving the ‘Chucks an early 2-0 lead.
The game stayed 2-0 until the Express’s bats woke up in the fourth. With Ty Forney on first, third baseman Josh Scheffert blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall to tie the game at two.
The ‘Chucks answered the Express’s homer with a run of their own in the top of the fourth. With runners on first and second, Brooks Braga grounded a ball towards Express shortstop Ty Forney. The ball skipped into center field and allowed Mason Pingel to score from second, giving the ‘Chucks a 3-2 lead.
The lead would not last long, however. The Express loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth before McCaffrey recorded two quick outs. Jordan Jess came on in relief of McCaffrey, but it was Scheffert again coming through for the Express, rocking a single to center that scored two and gave the Express a 4-3 lead.
The score stayed 4-3 until the seventh when another Express mistake allowed the Woodchucks to tie the game. With runners on the corners, a pitch from reliever Drew Ghelfi got away from catcher Nick Bullington, allowing Brian Smith to score from third for the ‘Chucks.
The ‘Chucks took the lead back in the top of the eighth on yet another Express mistake. With runners on first and second, Jordan Jess dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Ghelfi’s throw to first was misplayed by Ryan Wagner, allowing Andrew Montanari to score the go-ahead run.
The ‘Chucks were able to pick up an insurance run in the ninth, but they would not need it as they defeated the Express 6-4 on opening night.
Picking up the win for the Woodchucks was Jordan Jess, who pitched five and one third scoreless innings, striking out four Express batters. The loss for the Express went to Drew Ghelfi, who allowed two runs over three innings.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow night at Carson Park.
About Wisconsin Woodchucks
The Wisconsin Woodchucks are a member of the prestigious Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league featuring top talent from across the country. Located in Wausau, Wis., the Woodchucks play at historic Athletic Park, and are annually among the top-ranked teams nationally in per-game attendance. More information about the Wisconsin Woodchucks is available at www.woodchucks.com, or by calling 715-845-5055.